Photo: Ursa Major’s first Autumn, way back in 2011. My God, the time really does go so quickly.

I realize that Friday’s post was a little…dramatic…

i shall endeavor to restore some order and balance. Some freaking control. Let’s talk about the good, The true good.

The car is ok. It was just the battery. The battery was the original one that came with the car (and the car is almost 6 years old) so it was due to die. We replaced it yesterday (for $130 smackers… which is still not a little bit of money) and the car is working well. And thank goodness, because there was playgroup this morning and preschool tomorrow. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to put that thing in the shop and go through the rigamaroll of dealing with a mechanic. In the world of dealing with car issues, i’m going to be thankful for this blessing.

And then there is the house. I asked for a miracle. Obs and gobs of money didn’t fall out of the sky, but there are a few “good enough” things here:

First, My realtor got us in touch with a heating/cooling specialist, and took him to the house on our behalf. He recommends that we tear out the steam system and very pretty radiators in the house and go with a forced air system. At first, I was hesitant to entertain this: One, I don’t mind steam heat. Two, I think radiators are pretty, I don’t know why. Three, it sounds really expensive to go with forced air. Besides, we might need to keep the steam until the Spring because we can’t convert to gas.

Well, this guy is like “no no, you don’t understand, I know people. I’ve already made some phone calls.” He’s pretty sure he can get us gas on this side of winter, he thinks that he might be able to get the gas company to not make us pay that full $9k, and he thinks that he can give us a full new heating system for not nearly as much as we were going to pay. And he’s not a snake oil salesman. This is real, this is legit. I’m almost beside myself with relief. We don’t have the hard numbers yet, and there are many phone calls to make (including a few after I’m done blogging), but we might be able to move into a house that is done instead of a house that we’re holding our breath all winter in.

but wait, there’s more!

The Husband met his dream contractor on Saturday. He was meticulous, went through the house and went through it with a expert eye, and didn’t give us any directives. He just kept asking the husband what he wanted. I was here with the boys, but when The Husband came home, he was just so pleased. “It was the first time in this whole entire process when someone wasn’t telling me what we ought to do. He only wanted to know what I wanted.” He also said he’d have all of our paperwork done quickly. Today, even.

I still really like the guy that I met last week. I’d love to work with him if he can create a good competing bid. No matter who we go with, I think that we’re going to make this house truly move-in ready within our budget. I’m feeling very, very fortunate. Now, nothing has happened yet. We don’t close until October 25th. I’m still very worried that we’re not going to be able to actually move into the house until December.

The leaves are changing here in Massachusetts, and it is breathtaking. This is my absolute favorite time of the year. I drove past Minute Man National Park on our way back from playgroup this morning, and to see the beautiful old colonial buildings with the gorgeous autumnal colors in the background is just stunning. I celebrated the change of the season with two low-and-slow dishes this weekend: My first big pot of beef chilli, which was just crazy good, and a lovely roasted duck, which was also crazy good. The best part about cold-weather cooking is that you get to put it on the stove and walk away. The second is that it makes your house smell incredibly good all day, not to mention making it warm and cozy.

I also did a bit of writing over the weekend. 1 hour of fiction on Saturday night instead of watching a movie with The Husband. I’m trying to find an hour a day to add writing back to my routine. It is difficult when there are so many competing interests for my time and energy, but this is important: It helps me relax, it reminds me that I have a creative voice, I like the tangible feel of filling up digital paper with words, and it helps me feel accomplished. Besides, my 29th birthday is on Friday, which means that the ticker will be starting for me to publish. I’m dead serious. I’m publishing a book on my 30th birthday.

I even listened to a few EdX lectures this weekend. Creativity, Learning, Cooking, Cleaning, Forward Motion. It was a freaking great weekend. So much better.

There is still so much to do. I’m the teacher helper at preschool tomorrow, which means that I’m responsible for snack. Snack is going to be pumpkin oatmeal cookies, but guess who has to bake those? and there is still dinner to cook. and I have floors to vacuum and/or sweep and mop. and there is laundry to do.

I’d have heart palpitations, but a wonderful breeze is blowing outside of my windows, and the rustling of the leaves is just music to my ears. It is a cool day, it’s going to be a cold night. Do I add an extra comforter to the bed or do we put on the heat? Hmmm…

There is one more interest competing for my attention, one that I’m going to take seriously. Our preschool is cooperative, which means that each parent has a responsibility for helping the school run. This year, I’m the school’s Parent Education leader. My only real responsibility is to find a speaker for the winter board meeting. I wanted more information on this, so I asked the school’s director (and Ursa Major’s teacher) what my responsibilities are (since no one has been able to effectively communicate them to me).

“It depends on how inspired you are,” she replied. “One year, a mother started a book club and they read parenting books together. Other years, we’re had multiple things going on. It can be as simple as sending an article to the list serve from time to time.”

A book club? On a parenting book? Can I step on nails instead?

“And as for the speaker,” she added, “you can find someone for March…someone new, or a speaker we’ve had before. Whatever you want. We usually poll the community to see what they want.”

I’m bored. This sucks.

“But, you know, you’re a teacher. So you probably have a lot to add. So do whatever you’re inspired to do. I’m sure you’ll add a lot to the community.”

I collected the boys and went to the grocery store, thinking about what stupid dumb thing I can do to just get this over with.

But then I got to thinking.

Can I sneak some integration/diversity talk into this school community? Can I, somehow, add some language regarding inclusiveness/diversity/integration into the community’s internal dialogue.

It was a dangerous thought. A fun thought. A challenging thought.

It is a dangerous thought because clearly I’m a newcomer to the community. I’m also an extreme minority in the community. I don’t think that anyone joined this school for the singular purpose of keeping their children away from children of color. How can I add thoughts and language around diversity without being dismissed, unintentionally offending, or unintentionally creating discomfort?

It is a fun thought because I have an opportunity to be that minority who isn’t a token and isn’t a wallflower. It’s going to be like “yes, I openly recognize that we’re the only colored people here. How do you feel about that? What can we do about that? Let’s talk about that.” If I can do this right, I can create a community dialogue here that can then radiate out into the subsequent schools that all of our children with eventually go to. Can you start growing sincerity and awareness in children so young?

It is a challenging thought because I have spent a lot of my time lately swimming very deeply into feminist thought. I love the feminist world-view and like to play on the playground, and that’s why I’m loathe to write this, but sometimes we get a little bit…well, (oh my God, here comes the anger) exclusive. Bullyish. Dare I say, militant? In our attempts to defend the minority, give voice to the voiceless, shed light on the sociological things that give or take power, we sometimes get a little holier-than-thou. I really try not to be that way, but I know that I can come off that way sometimes. Feminism isn’t for everyone, and feminism certainly isn’t necessary in this context. How can I tone it down a notch? How can I adapt what I know to a suburban, segregated, adult audience? I like nuance in theory, but can I pull off nuance in practice?

and extending those questions, I love my little Monday playgroup so much because it is diverse–how can I harness what is powerful about my Monday playgroup and spread that to Ursa Major’s preschool? Is it possible? What we have is not a fluke, and I’m not the reason why it’s special. So what makes it special? Why is it so vital to me, my sons, the children involved, and their parents?

and since I’m suddenly in the business of seeking out and even creating diverse play/learning communities for my sons, how can I make sure that other mothers in my position can do the same for their own children if they want to ?And I must add that looking around for toddler-friendly/pre-k diversity materials has been discouraging. I have found a lot of scholarly research, but not a lot of curriculum or materials…

Big questions. Bigger idea. Zero time or resources.

Ain’t that the way?

It is Monday. A lot of people don’t like Mondays, but I’m a bit of an optimist (can you tell, yet? ha ha ha!). I have an opportunity to not go down the spiral of hysteria, and instead finish out the week strong and accomplished. I’m going to do it, too. I pledge, no more hysterical Friday posts!

And speaking of Friday’s post, I’m going to try to compose another high-quality something for Friday morning. I’ve got a few ideas rattling in my head. I need to start 29 with a strong, coherent, spelling/grammatical error-free post. So look forward to that.

But we’ve got to get to Wednesday, first!

I hope that you are having a day worthy of an optimistic outlook. I hope that you are experiencing a beautiful change of season. I hope that your home smells good and that your floors aren’t sticky. Happy Monday!

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5 thoughts on “Restart Monday

    • Thanks, Meredith! Thank you for always being my cheerleader! I don’t even know where to begin, though. I need to get creative in finding some resources. I KNOW that there is stuff out there. I just need to find it.

  1. “Besides, my 29th birthday is on Friday, which means that the ticker will be starting for me to publish. I’m dead serious. I’m publishing a book on my 30th birthday.”
    OMG! At 29 I was a newly wed. At 36 I was a mom to 3 pre schoolers.
    Never have I felt so old 🙂

    • awww! Just remember that I met my husband in high school, so my timeline was a little expedited!! Did you have your children back to back? Ursa Major and Ursa Minor are only 15 months apart. I felt like I was pregnant FOREVER!

      • Yup, three kids in three and a half years. I was sick through each pregnancy but the hardest part was not getting a full nights sleep for five years. Very hard work for a long time but the advantage has always been that they are close enough in age to be interested in and able to do stuff together. Now they are all teenagers which is fun even if it does come with it’s own challenges 🙂

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